Exclusive: Akshay Kumar on Gold: Real stories are content that drives me to make such films
Based on the story of Indian hockey team winning Gold medal in the Olympics for the free nation, Akshay Kumar and Mouni Roy exclusively share some interesting anecdotes with mid-day.com. Gold releases on August 15
As the release date of Akshay Kumar and Mouni Roy's Gold approaches nearer, mid-day online sits in an exclusive conversation with both the actors and where they spoke about sports, films and real stories. Akshay, who needs no introduction has proved its worth to the film fraternity through his idealistic approach. The actor feels responsible as a citizen to impart education, knowledge, and entertainment through his work. While his fans call him a "complete package," the 'Khiladi' actor feels one life is too less to become a wholesome entertainer. On the other hand, debutante Mouni Roy is extremely ecstatic to debut with the superstar. The 'Naagin' actress speaks about her transition from the small screen to the big screen, and how she is proud to be a television actor.
Few excerpts from the interview:
Audience passionately waits for Akshay Kumar's next, especially to see what social message it has in store for them. So, what drives you towards making films with such content?
The content that drives me towards making such films are real stories. I never ever thought that through a film we'll get to know about the first Olympic Gold medal India won, and how it won? It is all about the struggle people had to go through for their achievement. Before I could come to this interaction, I met a special child who writes with her feet because she's unable to write with her fingers. That sixteen-year-old girl from Assam has only one dream, that of becoming an IPS officer. She wrote her exams with her feet and also makes amazing drawings. These are the content of courage that drives you to make such films. Today, the audience wants to see the story of an extraordinary person. To be honest, how many times will we see aliens, Batman, Superman, and such fictional characters from Hollywood? Here, the real people, they all exist – they are the superman and superwoman.
There are many such stories of bravery and courage around us. How do we tap all of them?
In this lifetime, whatever I can do, I am doing. Rest, everyone can come together and try discovering such stories.
We only talk about success stories; we fail to see the struggle behind that success. In India, everything is only connected to success...
If you ask me, which is my biggest film that made the most business? I'll say Pad Man. I'm not talking about the Rs. 82 crore business, the film's business is such, which no other film could make. We met the government officials and today, the GST has been dropped from sanitary napkins. Even if a girl saves Re 1 or 50 paise behind one pad, that saving is my film's business, which will keep continuing.
How do you see the state of sports in India?
We want that people should focus on sports. According to me, each person should hold on to one sport in their life. A person has a hidden passion for at least one sport but it's the lethargic feeling that stops you from doing it. I read a beautiful line that says, "Jahan Ke maidaan bhare hote hain, vahan ke hospital khaali hote hain." (The more crowded the playgrounds, deserted the hospitals are). I want more films to be made around sports. We want sports to be on number one in India. Getting a gold in the Olympics is not very difficult for our nation.
What is your character in Gold?
When the nation is born after Independence in 1947, there's a man (Tapan Das), who dreams of getting 'Gold' for his nation. Nobody knows what's happening, while some are busy forming the government, some running between nations – there is a man, who thinks that we have Olympics in 1948, I want to take a team there and win Gold for India. I play that man's character. I manage the hockey team.
Mouni, did you help Akshay with Bengali?
He is very natural and spontaneous as an actor. There is no need to correct him. In fact, he was nice enough to sit with me before the shot and rehearse for me. He would even come up with ideas and later give the credit to me.
How did your parents react when they got to know you are teaming up with 'the' Akshay Kumar?
Mouni: Ecstatic! Especially my mom and my brother. My brother is dying to meet him (Akshay Kumar) saying, 'He's such a superhero, he's like one real man'. He's so influenced by Akshay because he's naturally just so fit. On the other hand, my mother doesn't want to meet him because she's scared. She keeps asking me, 'what will I say when I come for the film's screening?'
Mouni, you are a bibliophile; do you incorporate your learning experiences through different books in your creative process (acting)?
I don't deliberately incorporate. I think if you have read something, and there is some reference to context, it naturally flows in the work process. Literally, you can't do it because every story and circumstances are different.
How would the atmosphere be on the sets?
Mouni: He (Akshay) does a lot of mischief on the sets. He won't make you feel that you are working with such a big superstar.
Akshay: I do that to keep the atmosphere light on the set because I feel the atmosphere around should be very light, it shouldn't be serious. My staff is with me for past 26-28 years; my make-up man, the driver has stayed with me for 29 years. So, I like it that way.
First Akshay Kumar and then Alia Bhatt, you are literally working with the heavyweights of the Indian film industry. Do you think you have arrived in Bollywood?
Mouni: I don't understand the word 'arrived'. I love acting and dancing, and I want to continue doing so. I consider myself extremely lucky, it happens to 1 per cent of the actors. So, I don't take it for granted even for a second that I am getting to work with him (Akshay Kumar) in my first film. I'm really grateful that he considered me for this role. I'll be indebted to him for my whole life.
Since you have worked in television for a long time, what are the basic differences you have noticed between these two mediums? Was the transition smooth for you?
Mouni: The transition has been pretty smooth. I was very happy doing what I was doing on TV, Naagin was doing exceedingly well, and then Gold happened – bigger, better. But having said that it's just the medium that has changed. I don't see much of a difference except there are just original songs in movies and we don't have any original songs on television. I'm a proud TV actor.
Which is the sport that you both love?
Mouni: Dancing (if that's considered a sport)
Akshay: Yeah, it is considered
What will be the takeaway for the audiences through this film?
Akshay: That the meaning of Gold is not the medal, it's the sweat, blood, hard work, passion and focus- that is the real meaning of Gold medal.
You were recently quoted as saying that you made a mark in Bollywood as an action star and thanked martial arts for it. But you have also rendered emotionally charged performances in the past. Don't you think after having spent 27 odd years in Bollywood, you are more than just an action hero – you are a complete package?
Akshay: There are so many things that one has to still learn. You need seven lives to learn everything. This is my first life and there are so many things to do. Honestly, every month, I listen to many scripts, every month one movie- that means I have 12 movies in my hand, but I can only do 3-4. Already, I do four and people start complaining that why is he doing four films, he should only do one. That complete package will never be able to come. I have to work, I'm still working to get a little bit of it.
Mouni: Of course, he's a complete package. You give him any character from any region, he does it with as much conviction with as much spontaneity. He'll play one character every single day with as much freshness. He can do action, he is flexible, he can hit you and make you cry and laugh. He has done taandav in his life, which looks bad on most men if you don't know how to do it, and he has done it so well. He has danced on Bollywood numbers, item songs, hip-hop. Yes, he's a complete package
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